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Articles in Protest Movements

Mapping Chile’s Indigenous Population

By Martin W. Lewis | July 28, 2015 | 2 Comments

(Note: This post concludes the recent GeoCurrents series on regional differences in Chile)
One of the most interesting tables found in the Wikipedia article on “Ranked Lists of Chilean Regions” is that of the indigenous population. According to the 2013 Casen Survey, nearly 10 percent of Chileans identify themselves as belonging to an indigenous group, a significant increase over earlier assessments. …

Egyptian Protests, Ethiopian Dams, and the Hydropolitics of the Nile Basin

By Martin W. Lewis | June 4, 2013 | 13 Comments

Water struggles in the Nile Basin have recently intensified as Egyptian nationalists denounce Ethiopia’s building of the Grand Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile, the river’s largest tributary. Ethiopia is now diverting the river in preparation for construction, angering many Egyptians, whose country is heavily dependent on the Nile flow. Protestors gathered in front of the Ethiopian embassy in Cairo …

Separatism in French Polynesia

By Nicholas Baldo | October 17, 2012 | One Comment

As previously noted on GeoCurrents, the political entities that comprise the French Republic exhibit a multitude of different administrative designations with varying legal responsibilities. One such possession is French Polynesia, which was officially designated an “overseas country” in 2004, though legally its status is indistinguishable from that of France’s other overseas collectivities.

Strife in Ethiopia over an Anti-Radical (or Is It Radical?) Muslim Sect

By Martin W. Lewis | July 23, 2012 | Comments Off on Strife in Ethiopia over an Anti-Radical (or Is It Radical?) Muslim Sect

The Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa has been recently shaken by violent clashes between the police and Muslim protestors. According to Shabelle News, “The protesters, some wearing masks, blocked the entrance of the Anwar Mosque in the west of the capital and hurled stones at riot police who had surrounded the compound after noon prayers.” The protestors were angered by the government’s alleged interference in the practice of their religion, claiming that it has been trying to foist the Al Ahbash sect on the Ethiopian Muslim community.

The Nasa (Páez) People Take on the Colombian Military and the Leftist Rebels

By Martin W. Lewis | July 20, 2012 | Comments Off on The Nasa (Páez) People Take on the Colombian Military and the Leftist Rebels

A recent article in the Chinese news site CRI notes that the indigenous Nasa people of southwestern Colombia have “lashed out at a Colombian Army outpost in southwestern Cauca province, as the military refused to leave their land as requested.” The report goes on to note that some 1,000 people surrounded a military outpost and literally tried to drag the soldiers away. As reported elsewhere, Colombian riot police soon evicted the Nasa demonstrators, and later shot and killed a member of the movement who allegedly refused to stop at an armed checkpoint

Heightened Unrest in Venezuela’s Zulia State

By Martin W. Lewis | June 30, 2012 | Comments Off on Heightened Unrest in Venezuela’s Zulia State

In recent weeks, Zulia has experienced mounting troubles. Several leaders of the indigenous Yukpa and Wayuu communities were murdered, reportedly by wealthy ranchers infuriated at indigenous peoples moving into their prime grazing lands (Zulia is a major beef and dairy—and oil—producer)

Another Cartoon Controversy Strikes India

By Martin W. Lewis | June 27, 2012 | 4 Comments

Yet another political cartoon controversy has embroiled India in recent weeks. The cartoon in question dates to 1965, when opposition to the planned imposition of the Hindi language across India generated unrest over much of the country and especially the southern state of Tamil Nadu. Tamil activists feared that the imposition of Hindi would reduce non-Hindi speakers to the status of second-class citizens, and thus agitated for the continuing use of English as the country’s unifying, common language

Food-Cost Protests in Northern Canada

By Martin W. Lewis | June 11, 2012 | 9 Comments

Major protests against the high price of food and economic insecurity more generally were held last weekend in the remote northern Canadian territory of Nunavut, inhabited mostly by Inuit (“Eskimo”) people. Organized on Facebook, the “Feed My Family” campaign has attracted roughly a third of Nunavut’s population. A recent study found that some “three-quarters of Inuit preschoolers live in food-insecure homes, and that “half of youths 11 to 15 years old sometimes go to bed hungry.”

Continuing Tension in Namibia’s Caprivi Strip

By Martin W. Lewis | April 23, 2012 | 5 Comments

Namibia is generally regarded as one of the most successful states of sub-Saharan Africa, with a stable, relatively democratic government, a high degree of press freedom, and a political-economic system that successfully translates wealth in natural resources (diamonds particularly) into broad-based gains in human wellbeing. Just this month, for example, Namibia announced that that it will be able to bring electricity to all rural schools in the country within five years, which would be a significant accomplishment in such a large, sparsely settled country.

The Culture of Queensland and the Desire to Divide the State

By Martin W. Lewis | March 22, 2012 | 3 Comments

Queensland has a reputation of being the most conservative state in Australia, especially in regard to social and racial issues. As such, it has been deemed Australia’s “Deep North,” in reference to the “Deep South” of the United States. Such attitudes, however, have changed significantly in recent years. A study from the 1990s concluded that there were no longer any …

Anti-Mining Protests in Ecuador and Peru

By Martin W. Lewis | | Comments Off on Anti-Mining Protests in Ecuador and Peru

In Ecuador, hundreds of indigenous protestors have been marching for two weeks from the Amazonian lowlands to the capital city of Quito, which they are scheduled to reach today. Road blockades have led to clashes with the police as well as numerous arrests.

Indigenous Protests in Panama

By Martin W. Lewis | March 7, 2012 | Comments Off on Indigenous Protests in Panama

Massive protests by indigenous people, occasionally accompanied by violence, have been occurring in Panama since late January. On March 1, leaders of Ngöbe-Buglé people walked out on talks with the Panamanian government after several of their young supporters were shot with rubber bullets.

The Circassian Mystique and Its Historical Roots

By Martin W. Lewis | January 30, 2012 | 17 Comments

Although little known today, the Circassians were once a famous people, celebrated for their military élan, physical mien, and resistance to Russian expansion. In the nineteenth century, “Circassophilia” spread from Europe to North America, where numerous writers expressed deep admiration for the mountaineers of the eastern Black Sea. Prominent physical anthropologists deemed Circassian bodies the apogee of the human form. …

Mayotte: The EU’s—and France’s—Troubled New Exclave

By Martin W. Lewis | October 27, 2011 | 11 Comments
Map of the Comoros and Mayotte

On March 31, 2011, the European Union expanded, adding 144 square miles (374 km2) and almost 200,000 persons. The population of this new UE territory is almost entirely Muslim (97 per cent). It is also, by European standards, quite poor, with a nominal per capita GDP of only US $6,500. Oddly, the land in question is not even physically located in Europe, situated …

Oil and Arabic-Speakers in Iran’s Troubled Southwest

By Martin W. Lewis | October 22, 2011 | 9 Comments
Incorrect Map of Sunni/Shia Distribution in the Middle East

If Saudi Arabia faces a restive Shia minority in its main oil-producing area (see GeoCurrents Oct. 14, 2011), Iran has a similar challenge. Its foremost oil-producing zone—the southwestern province of Khuzestan (Ahwaz in Arabic)—is the heart of Iran’s dissatisfied Arabic-speaking minority. Fear of unrest in Khuzestan looms large in Iranian security deliberations. Not only does

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